Caesalpinia crista L.

Last updated: 3 August 2016

Scientific Name

Caesalpinia crista L.


Caesalpinia chinensis Roxb., Caesalpinia kwangtungensis Merr., Caesalpinia laevigata Perr., Caesalpinia nuga (L.) W.T.Aiton, Caesalpinia nuga (L.) Aiton, Caesalpinia paniculata Desf., Caesalpinia paniculata (Lam.) Roxb., Caesalpinia scandens Roth, Caesalpinia szechuenensis Craib, Caesalpinia szechuenensis Craib, Genista scandens Lour., Guilandina bonduc var. minus DC., Guilandina crista Small, Guilandina nuga L., Guilandina paniculata Lam., Guilandina semina Lour., Ticanto nuga (L.) Medik. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Gorek, kelichi, kelinchi, gorek-gorek, kuku tupai, olang. [2]
English Teri pods [4], bonduc nut, fever nut, nuga brasiletto [3]
China ci huo su mu, hua nan yun shin. [3]
India Akimakit, akthamakhath, anataitus, ashak-e-marium, avil, ban-karetti, caretti, catalanemi, gacachakaya, gajji, gotchi, hajra ilaqi, kaccakkay, kali gathar, mulutige, natakaranja, prakirnah, qana-e-iblees, tapasi, vaakeri. [3]
Indonesia Kemrunggi, rembete [3][5], klengkeng, kutuk, tenglur, tinglur [2] (Javanese); mata hiyang (Sundanese) [3][5]
Thailand thephee, waat (Peninsular); sawaat (Central). [3][5]
Tibet srin sman ma ru, srin sman me rud. [3]
Philippines Bakaig, kalauinit, kabit-kabag, kamit-kabag, sagmit (Tagalog); binit (Bikol). [3][5][6]
Vietnam chi[ee]ng chi[ees]ng. [3][5]
Japan nanten-kazura. [3]
Papua New Guinea kait. [3]

Geographical Distributions

Caesalpinia crista can be found in coastal areas from India and Sri Lanka, eastward to the Ryukyu Islands, throughout South-East Asia to Queensland and New Caledonia. In Malesia it is not found in East Sumatra and East Borneo. [5]

Botanical Description

C. crista is a member of the Leguminosae family. It is a climber with finely downy gray branches armed with both hooked and straight hard yellow thorns. [5]

The leaves are bipinnate, 30-60cm long with short prickly petioles. There is a pair of stipules at the base of the leave which in believed to be a rudimentary pinnae. Each stipule is armed with a long mucronate point. There are usually 6-8 pairs of pinnae, each measuring 5.0-7.5cm long and with a pair of hooked stipular spines at the base. Each pinna has 6-9 pairs of leaflets, measuring 2.0-3.8cm long and 1.3-2.2cm wide, membranous, elliptic to oblong, obtuse, strongly mucronate, glabrous above and more or less puberous below. [7]

The flowers are produced in dense terminal racemes, with long peduncles and supra-auxillary racemes which are close at the top and looser lower down, 15-25cm in length. The flower has 6–8mm long calyx which is fulvous and hairy; lobes are obovater. The petals are yellow and oblanceolate; filaments are declinate, flattened at the base, and covered with long white silky hairs. The pedicels are 5mm in flowers and 8mm in fruits; they are brown and downy. [7]

The pods are has short stalk, oblong measuring 5.0-7.5cm long and 4.5cm wide. They are densely armed with wiry prickles. [7]

The seeds are oblong, dark gray and up to 1.3cm long. [7]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

Air dried seed kernels of C. crista were extracted with dichloromethane and then fractionised by silica gel column chromatography. The fractioned sample results in identification of caesalpinins H, caesalpinins I, caesalpinins J, caesalpinins K, caesalpinins L, caesalpinins M, caesalpinins N, caesalpinin O, caesalpinins P, norcaelsalpinin F, and other 13 known diterpenes. caesalpinin C, caesalpinin D, norcaesalpinin E, 2-acetoxycaesaldekarin e, 3-deacetoxy-6-acetoxycaesaldekarin e, α-caesalpin and bonducellpins A-C. [8]

Plant Part Used

Seed, leaf, bark, fruit, root. [2]

Traditional Use

C. crista is considered emmenagogue and is used to treat amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, diabetes, intermittent fever, and dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The parts used in these conditions include the leaves, powdered seeds and roots. [9][10][11]

In Java a decoction of the leaves are given to treat menstrual problems. The leaves have tonic properties and decoction of it is given to ally debility. The tender shoots are taken by Malays as ulam and it treats toothache and ward off intestinal worms in children. The tender leaves are given to children as anthelmintic. In Malaysia a decoction of the leaves are given in cases of taeniasis. [9][10][11]

The fruit of C. crista is considered hot and it is used in treatment of vomiting, billousness and parasitic infestation. One of the famed Indian Surgeon of antiquity, recommend the use of the juice extracted from the fruit to treat elephantiasis and also recommends a mixture of the seed kernel in honey or castor oil for other intestinal worms. [9][10][11].

The seeds of C. crista have been used to treat many forms of intestinal parasitic infestations including ascariasis and strongyloidiasis, in the treatment of fractured bones, control of blood sugar level and asthma. The seed kernel is given for fever, internal abscesses, infected wounds, digestive problems, dysentery diarrhoea and cutaneous affections. The oil extracted from the seeds is an emolient are good for hydrocele, ear infection, removal of skin freckles and other skin problems. The seeds and leaves have been used in many communities as anthelmintic. Both the shoots and the seeds have been advocated in the treatment of intestinal worms. [9][10][11].

The roots of C. crista are also considered as a tonic and the decoction given for debility and fatigue. The decoction in combination with Pseudoranthemum laxifolium provides relieve of rheumatoid arthritis, and in combination with other plants treats tuberculosis and venereal disease especially gonorrhoea. It is also considered a gastric tonic and formed part of a concoction for contraception. [9][10][11]

Preclinical Data


Antitumour activity

The compound 1α-acetoxy-5α, 7β-dihydroxycassa-11,13(15)-diene-16,12-lactone, a cassane-type diterpene, isolated from Caesalpinia crista was found to have significant inhibitory activities against T47D and DU145 tumour cell lines. [12]

Anthelmintic activity

The seed of C. crista is well known traditionally for the use of anthelmintic treatment by the inhabitant of mangrove areas. The investigations had showed that it is effective against Ascaris galli and Haemonchus contortus. [13][14]

Antimalarial activity

Fourty-four cassane and norcassane-type diterpenes isolated from C. crista were found to be active against Plasmodium falciparum clone in vitro. Of these the most potent was norcaesalpinin E with IC50 value of 0.090 μm. [15]

Antioxidant activity

A 70% methanol extract of C. crista leaves was subjected to a number of tests to determine its antioxidant and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger activities. It was found that the antioxidant activity based on trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity has the value of 0.546 +/- 0.014. The ROS scavenging activities has the following values: hydroxyl (0.44 +/- 0.1 mg/mL); superoxide (24.9 +/- 0.98 mug/mL); nitric oxide (33.72 +/- 0.85 mug/mL); singlet oxygen (61.13 +/- 3.24 mug/mL) and hypochlorous acid (170.51 +/- 4.68 mug/mL). IC50 was 279.85 +/- 4.72 mug/mL. It was found to be a potent iron chelator too. The extract showed ability to significantly increase levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione-S-transferace and reduced glutathione in vivo. This extract yielded 50.23 +/- 0.003 mg/mL gallic acid equivalent phenolic content and 106.83 +/- 0.0003 mg/mL quercetin equivalent flavonoid content. Thus the antioxidant and the ROS scavenging activity can be attributed to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds. [16]

Anti-amyloidogenic property

It was found that the aqueous extract from the leaves of C. crista was able to inhibit Amyloid beta aggregation from monomers and oligomers and able to disaggregate the pre-formed fibrils. Amyloid beta has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease where it was found to self-assembles to form oligomers and fibrils via multiple aggregation process. [16]

Antidiabetic activity

Ethanolic extract and aqueous extract of the C. crista seed were used to evaluate the antidiabetic activity by using the streptozotocin induced diabetes in 2 days old pups model. The experimental animal was divided into five groups: Group I was treated with normal saline, Group II is diabetic untreated group, Group III had diabetic animals treated with the ethanolic extracts of C. crista at a dose of 100 mg/kg, Group IV had diabetic animals treated with aqueous extract of C. crista at a dose of 100 mg/kg and Group V had diabetic animals treated with standard drug. Rats treated with ethanolic and aqueous seed extracts of C. crista had significant decrease in serum glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride when compared with diabetic untreated group. [17]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

The irritant effects of alpha-amyrin, beta-amyrin, lupeol and lupeol acetate, triterpenoids isolated from the seeds of C. crista was demonstrated in open mouse ear assay [18].


Dosage Range

No documentation

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Caesalpinia crista L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2016 Apr 4]. Available from:
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p.129
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants. Volume II : Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. xxx
  4. Suryawanshi H, Patel M. Traditional uses, medicinal and phytopharmacological properties of Caesalpinia crista Linn-An overview. Int J Res Pharm Chem. 2011;1(4):1179-1183.
  5. Utomo, B.I., 2001. Caesalpinia crista L.In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. and Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publisher, Leiden, The Netherlands, p. 127
  6. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Bakaig. [homepage on the Internet]. [updated 2015 Dec 15; cited 2016 Apr 4]. Available from:
  7. Preedy VR, Watson RR, Patel VB. Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention. Academic Press London; 2011. p. 562.
  8. Awale S, Linn TZ, Tezuka Y, Kalauni SK, Banskota AH, Attamimi F, Ueda JY, Kadota S. Constituents of Caesalpinia crista from Indonesia. Chem Pharm Bull. 2006; 54(2):213-8.
  9. Preedy VR, Watson RR, Patel VB. Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Academic Press London; 2011. p. 562.
  10. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur; 1966. p. 391 – 393.
  11. Cambie RC, Ash J. Fijian Medicinal Plants CSIRO Australia; 1994. p. 44–45.
  12. Tian QJ, Ou YH, He XB, Jiang YD. One new antitumour cassane-type diterpene from Caesalpinia crista. Nat Prod Res. 2012 May 14
  13. Javed I, Akhtar MS, Rahman ZU, Khaliq T, Ahmad M. Comparative anthelminthic efficacy and safety of Caesalpinia crista seed and piperazine adipate in chickens with artificially induced Ascaridia galli infection. Acta Veterinaria Hungarica. 1994;42(1):103-9.
  14. Hördegen P, Hertzberg H, Heilmann J, Langhans W, Maurer V. The anthelmintic efficacy of five plant products against gastrointestinal trichostrongylids in artificially infected lambs. Veterinary Parasitology. 2003 Nov 3;117(1-2):51-60.
  15. Mandal S, Hazra B, Sarkar R, Biswas S, Mandal N. Assessment of the antioxidant and reactive oxygen species scavenging activity of methanolic extract of Caesalpinia crista Leaf. J Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2009 Jul 13.
  16. Ramesh BN, Indi SS, Rao KS. Anti-amyloidogenic property of leaf aqueous extract of Caesalpinia crista. Neurosci Lett. 2010;475(2):110-4.
  17. Gupta N, Sharma I, Agarwal M, Mohammed SM, Chauhan P, Anwer T, Khan G. Antidiabetic activity of seed extracts of Caesalpinia crista Linn. in experimental animals. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol. 1808;7(26):2013.
  18. Saeed MA, Sabir AW. Irritant potential of some constituents from the seeds of Caesalpinia bonducella (L.) fleming. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research. 2003;5(1):35-41.